Spending on technology is on the rise in the mid-market, according to a recent Deloitte survey.
For the last decade or two, mid-market companies have viewed technology warily, acknowledging the necessity for investment in order to keep up, but, in many cases, skeptical about the overall value and actual return on investment. A Deloitte survey, Technology in the mid-market: Perspectives and priorities,” by Roger Nanney and Irvin Goverman, published earlier this year, makes clear that the attitude towards technology, especially in the mid-market, has taken a huge step. No longer is it considered just a necessity; now technology is viewed as a “strategic investment” and a “critical differentiator and key to growth.”
In a customer-centric environment, technology has become the great equalizer; and nowhere is that more evident than in the cloud. By levelling the playing field, cloud computing gives mid-size companies the capabilities to access customers and data that were once only available to larger corporations. What the survey discovered is that over half of the respondents indicated that they had either already deployed, were building, or were experimenting with cloud computing resources. In fact, a full 31% percent of executives surveyed report that their finance and accounting functions are already cloud-based.
Although cloud computing has had a huge impact on mid-market businesses, it’s not the only technology that is moving the needle when it comes to investment, according to the survey. Though marketers have long appreciated the value and power of analytics, that attitude is now prevalent in many areas of an enterprise, with one caveat. The emergence of Big Data (or unstructured data) is challenging many mid-size companies that may feel challenged managing vast amounts of data. And that situation is getting worse. The report cites one estimate that the “volume of unstructured data is growing by 62 percent each year and is expected to reach nine times the value of structured data by 2020.” Figuring out how to structure that data so that it can be used effectively is absolutely essential.
Another major impact on the mid-market has been the explosive growth in mobility for both customers and the workforce. The report found that 55% of executives surveyed said that mobility was having an impact on the labor force and 45% of all respondents indicated that mobility was having a significant impact on customers. In fact, mobile devices and social media have required companies to supply their customer-facing workforce with the tools and solutions necessary to optimize operations and maximize business opportunities.
One thing is certain. The mid-market segment understands the potentially disruptive nature of all of these technologies; they are well aware of the need to make smart investments to drive change in their enterprises. Where, in the past, senior buy-in was the biggest hurdle, that has changed significantly. Deloitte found that when it comes to these companies, “leaders are more supportive of technology than in the past.” More than half of the executives surveyed are planning to increase spending on technology. Many of these leaders look to technology, not as a “me-too” capability, but as a force for innovation. Later this week, I’ll go into greater detail on the survey results.
Download the full PDF of the Deloitte report here.